Tuesday, November 29, 2022
HomeUkraine-Russia crisisOil flows on Druzhba pipeline suspended - update on regional energy infrastructure

Oil flows on Druzhba pipeline suspended – update on regional energy infrastructure

Following Russia’s missile and drone strikes across Ukraine parts of the Druzhba oil pipeline have been ‘temporarily suspended’, causing energy supply disruptions across Central and Eastern Europe. The news came concurrent with an explosion in a Polish village, Przewodów, near the Ukrainian border that raised alarm among NATO countries.

The Druzhba pipeline, whose name means “friendship” in Russian, is one of the biggest crude oil pipeline networks in the world. It runs from Russia splitting in Belarus into a northern and a southern branch. The northern branch continues via Belarus and Poland to Germany. The southern branch runs through Ukraine, supplying oil to landlocked Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary.

As Russia launched a large-scale missile attack against Ukraine yesterday afternoon Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko warned that the attack could also affect the energy systems of some countries neighboring Ukraine.

Last night, Russian state-owned pipeline company, Transneft, was notified by Ukraine that oil supply to Hungary via the southern leg of the Druzhba oil pipeline was temporarily suspended.

Hungary says Druzhba oil pipeline can likely be restarted soon

Hungarian energy company, MOL Group, said it was notified by Ukraine that oil supply via the Druzhba pipeline has been temporarily suspended after a Russian rocket hit a power station close to the Belarus border that provides electricity for a pump station, and this led to the stoppage.

The attack directly affects Hungary’s energy supply, as the line of the Druzhba which stopped yesterdays can deliver nearly 8 million tons of oil per year to Hungary at maximum capacity. Hungarian oil and gas company MOL’s refinery in Százhalombatta normally receives 60 per cent of its crude oil supplies from Russia, the rest is coming through the Adria pipeline (30 per cent) and domestic production (10 per cent).

After the yesterday’s attack, MOL said that it’s prepared to provide a continued energy supply to Hungary and the region and its reserves together with Hungary’s strategic reserves are sufficient to ensure the uninterrupted operations of its Száhahalombatta refinery during a transitional period until the damage is repaired. MOL noted that it has enough crude oil reserves for 90 days.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán convened a meeting of the defence council after Druzhba shipments were suspended. Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó commented that the pipeline itself was not damaged, only the a power station, which is easier to repair so it can be expected to be back in operation soon. He emphasised that Hungary has supplies for several weeks or months, so the energy supply is not in danger.

Oil flows stopped to Slovakia

Reuters reported that oil deliveries to Slovakia through the Druzhba pipeline have been also suspended. “The reason for the suspension of supplies has not yet been officially confirmed by the Ukrainian side,” said the Slovak oil transporter, Transpetrol.

However, the Czech pipeline operator MERO has not reported disruptions so far in the flow of oil. The Polish pipeline operator PERN also informed about uninterrupted oil flows via the Polish section of the line.

‘Significant damage’ to Ukraine’s energy infrastructure

According to Ukraine’s Energy Minister, yesterday’s attacks caused significant damage to the electricity transmission system. A number of repair works were carried out last night, which has made it possible to restore electricity supply to a number of critical infrastructure facilities and settlements.

“Yesterday, the Russians carried out the most massive attack on the energy system of Ukraine, using about 100 missiles, as well as a large number of drones,” said the Energy Minister, Herman Galushchenko.

Under the auspices of Ukraine’s energy ministry, an ‘extraordinary high-level meeting’ of the International Energy Advisory Council was held earlier today to discuss Ukraine’s energy situation. The meeting was initiated by Minister Galushchenko, and attended by ministerial representatives of Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Great Britain, the US, as well as the Secretariat of the Energy Community.

Separately, in the early hours of the missile explosion in Poland, several unconfirmed sources reported that the Polish electricity power lines had been damaged. These claims were confirmed as false, according to a tweet by Poland’s official Centre for Government Communications account.

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